Mary Keitany, all by her lonesome, wins women’s NYC Marathon

Vincent Davis | 11/5/2015, 12:28 p.m.
Mary Keitany, the defending NYC Marathon champion, brings an interesting question to mind.
Mary Keitany Photo by Bill Moore

Mary Keitany, the defending NYC Marathon champion, brings an interesting question to mind: Does size really matter? Keitany, a petite, 5-foot-3, 88-pound wife and mother of two who turns 34 in January, broke away from the lead pack of women runners, mostly led by Sara Moreira of Portugal, to take a commanding lead over her competitors at the 19th mile of this 26.2-mile race. It had been Keitany’s game plan, her strategy all along.

“When I made my move around 30K, I say, ‘OK, let me just go, and if somebody is more strong, she can come, and we can go.’ I was ready to go with her, but fortunately, they never got me, so I just crossed the line alone,” said Keitany, who was able to draw from her past NYC Marathon experiences to guide her.

“Many times I’ve come to New York, and I know about the course, so I was very excited after crossing the [finish] line again, being the fastest. So I thank God for that.”

Keitany, who specializes in long-distance running and whose height seems to be slightly exaggerated, was the first woman to win the NYC Marathon in consecutive years since Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain, who won it in 2007 and 2008. Keitany decisively beat her own time of 2:25:07 in 2014, officially clocking in at 2:24:25 Sunday. It was just Keitany alone, escorted by a motorcycle policeman during her final miles to the finish line.

In second place was Aselefech Mergia and Tigist Tufa in third, both from Ethiopia. Tufa was able to keep up with Keitany for a short time during Keitany’s break from the pack, but not for long. Mergia finished the marathon in 2:25:32 and Tufa in 2:25:50, competing for the $100,000 in first-place prize money.